(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "[untitled] The American Historical Review, (1898-10-01), pages 137-141"

STOP 



Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world byJSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 
purposes. 

Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.istor.org/participate-istor/individuals/early- 
journal-content . 



JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 
contact support@jstor.org. 



Frazer: Pausaniass Description of Greece 137 

city, as "a centre of noble political and active economic life," was a 
Greek creation. Greek experiments in organizing government over large 
areas were only partially successful. But they paved the way for the greater 
and more permanent success of the Romans. Then came the Christian 
Church, the era of discovery and the age of invention, with modifications 
of old institutions and creation of new ones. But " the main questions of 
household economy, of city economy and of national economy, which 
recur again and again, all came within the cognizance of the Greeks. ' ' 

Phoenicians and Carthaginians attempted to "pursue an exclusive 
commerce, and to keep all rivals out of the field. ' ' Hellenic freedom of 
commerce triumphed against the Phoenician directly, and through Rome 
against the Carthaginian. The Roman extended the successful applica- 
tion of Hellenic economics over the world. Constantinople stored up 
the best attainments of Hellenic principles under Roman application, till 
the modem nations were ready to receive them. 

B. Perrin. 

Pausaniass Description of Greece. Translated, with a Commentary, 
by J. G. Frazer, M.A., LL.D., Fellow of Trinity College, Cam- 
bridge. (London and New York : The Macmillan Co. 1898. 
Six vols, pp. xcvi, 616, 582, 652, 447, 638, 199.) 

It is not every guide-book that appeals to the historical reviewer, 
nor is it every Sentimental Journey that justifies translation and commen- 
tary to the extent of six bulky volumes. But the Periegesis of Pausanias, 
in whichever quality we consider it, does both. In characterizing it as 
"a plain, unvarnished account by an eye-witness of the state of Greece 
in the second century of our era," Mr. Frazer tells but half the truth. 
It is all that and much more. Between the lines of the old traveller's 
note-book and in his wide-ranging digressions we read the whole story 
of the mightier Hellas which had long since passed away. 

It must have been near the middle of the second century when the 
Lydian Greek, reared in the shadow of Mt. Sipylus and steeped in the 
myths and memories of his race, set his face toward the fatherland across 
the Aegean. Already well travelled in the East, he proposed now "to 
describe the whole of Greece" (or rather "all things Greek") — evi- 
dently intending to confine his view to the mainland, as he passes in 
silence the storied isles of the Aegean to jot down his first note at 
Sunium. Reaching Athens when Herodes Atticus was in the midst of 
his munificent activity (the Odeion was not yet built), he took up the 
great task which was to occupy him for many years. In the Attica, 
which appears to have been written and published before the rest, he is 
feeling his way and working out his method ; then with a surer step he 
makes the round of the Peloponnese and returns to central Greece, 
where his further survey is confined to Boeotia and Phocis. Northern 
Greece is not included in the Description though the author had visited 
Thermopylae, whose hot springs he pronounces " the bluest water that he 



138 Reviews of Books 

ever saw. ' ' Thus the primal Hellas is not on his map nor is Dodona in 
his guide-book ; he does not even cross the Euripus to describe the great 
Euboean cities of Chalcis and Eretria. Indeed, as Frazer remarks, ' ' his 
book has neither head nor tail. ' ' He plunges into Attica without a word 
of introduction, and he breaks off abruptly with his account of Ozolian 
Locris. 

But even so he has covered the ground of first importance, and what 
he has not done only enhances our estimate of his actual performance. 
Wherever Pausanias has blazed the way, we have a sure and usually suf- 
ficient guide ; where he stops, we are left more or less in the dark. As 
Mr. Frazer well says: "Without him the ruins of Greece would for the 
most part be a labyrinth without a clue, a riddle without an answer. His 
book furnishes the clue to the labyrinth, the answer to many riddles." 
So the Germans have foimd at Olympia, the English at Megalopolis, and 
the Greeks at Lycosura, as the French are finding at Delphi and the 
Americans at Corinth ; but perhaps the value of the clue can best be 
measured by those who have had to spade without it at Dodona and 
Delos and Eretria. 

Thus, for all the perverse contention of certain Germans that Pau- 
sanias did not describe at first hand the Greece of his own time but slav- 
ishly copied from Polemo and other old writers descriptions of the 
country as it had been three hundred years before, the spade has amply 
vindicated his integrity and every new site explored adds further confir- 
mation. Pausanias has been there, and his own eyes have seen what his 
pen describes. We do not need the recurring note of personal knowl- 
edge — as when at Arayclae he remarks " I saw the throne and I will de- 
scribe it as I saw it " — to convince us of the fact. Of course, he should 
have acquainted himself with the works of earlier periegetes as we pre- 
pare for the tour of Greece by careful study of Leake and Curtius and 
Tozer, if we cannot carry them with us ; and yet our editor shows by a 
detailed comparison that "the existing fragments of Polemo hardly 
justify us in supposing that Pausanias was acquainted ' ' even with this 
the greatest of his predecessors. 

As a "description of Greece," then, the work is Pausanias' s own, 
the plain matter-of-fact record of a plodding painstaking observer who 
takes his bearings ; measures his distances ; charts every mountain, 
stream and town ; locates every theatre and temple ; and describes or at 
least mentions every statue and picture that is ' ' worth seeing. ' ' To the 
ordinary reader all this is tiresome enough ; he longs for a bit of scenery, 
for a breath of life, as when (and it is all too rarely) Pausanias turns 
from the monuments of the past to remark that : " The women of Patrae 
are twice as many as the men, and more charming women are nowhere 
to be seen. Most of them earn their livelihood by the fine flax that 
grows in Elis ; for they weave it into nets for their hair and dresses" 
(vii, 21, 7); and, a little further on, "beside the river is a grove of 
plane-trees, most of which are hollow with age, and so big that people 
picnic in their hollow trunks, ay, and sleep there too if they have a 
mind." 



Frazer: Pausaniass Description of Greece 139 

But the explorer, to whom mountain and plain and river and forest 
still speak for themselves as the crabbed Greek of Pausanias never could 
have spoken for them, takes kindly to the old traveller's method and 
finds his dull topography and his catalogue of monuments above all price. 
Thanks to him, he can exactly locate the buried cities and theatres and 
temples ; ay, and he knows where to look for the bases at least of nearly 
three thousand statues bearing the signature of some one hundred and 
fifty sculptors. 

But Pausanias gives us much more than topography and monuments, 
much more than an eye-witness account of the Greece of his own time. 
For in the old Dryasdust there was a vein of sentiment and a strain of 
patriotism to which "all things Greek" appealed. He could not stop 
with his card-catalogue. Of myth and ritual, of legend and folk-lore, 
his pages are full ; every temple has its cult, every monument its story, 
and all that may piously be told he tells. This is a trite observation ; 
but few perhaps realize how much of solid history is bound up in the 
Description of Greece. Not to speak of the historical digressions (notably 
in the Attica and the Pliocis) , the continuous historical introduction takes 
up one-third of the Laconia, more than half of the Achaia, and four- 
fifths of the Messenia. Here, of course, Pausanias is drawing largely 
upon literary sources ; and where these are lost (as in the case of 
Messenia) he becomes an ultimate if not an unquestioned authority. So 
his vivid story of the Celtic incursions not only stirs the blood but it fills 
a gap in history. Withal the old pedant more than once forgets himself 
in the patriot — a character of which we already begin to be conscious as 
we follow him from the Dipylon to the Academy along that street of 
soldiers' graves and see him stop to make a note like this : ' ' Here are 
buried Conon and Timotheus, a glorious father and a glorious son, like 
Miltiades and Cimon before them. ' ' But the patriot has learned many 
a sad lesson when, in summing up Achaean history, he tells us how 
"like a fresh shoot on a blasted and withered trunk, the Achaean 
League rose on the ruins of Greece. ' ' 

If our estimate of Pausanias is just, the wonder is not that he has now 
found an editor as patient and painstaking as himself, but that he has had 
to wait so long for his coming. The nearest approach to an exhaustive 
commentary hitherto is Leake's Travels in Greece — a monumental work 
by a master of "topography who has never yet been matched ; but Leake 
travelled and wrote before the revelations of the spade had fairly begun. 
In Curtius's Pelopontiesos we have a more brilliant commentary, so far as 
it goes. But the editors proper had hardly got beyond Attica, when Mr. 
Frazer stepped to the front with an edition of Pausanias more complete 
in its way perhaps than had yet been achieved in the case of any ancient 
author. In this long labor of fourteen years — as long a labor, possibly, 
as Pausanias's own — we have everything an editor could offer us except the 
primary thing, the original textj and that exception we regret. We 
could have better spared the long appendix on " the Pre-Persian Tem- 
ple " (which is here reprinted), and the entire text could have been 
printed in the index volume without swelling it beyond the average. 



1 40 Reviews of Books 

In his translation Mr. Frazer has achieved a very difficult task in a 
masterly way. Pausanias's style is hardly as hideous as his editor paints 
it — "a loose, clumsy, ill-jointed, ill-compacted, rickety, ram-shackle 
style without ease or grace or elegance of any sort " — but it is certainly 
about as bad a style as any Greek, even a modern Greek, could employ. 
For this crabbed Greek our translator gives us idiomatic, lucid, often 
racy English : thus ' ' Demosthenes never fingered a penny of the gold 
that Harpalus brought from Asia " (ii, jj, 4); " King Archidamus him- 
self had a finger in the sacred pie" at Delphi (iv, jo, 3) ; and "when 
Demaratus was born his father, Aristo [who, as we are subsequently told, 
' had wedded the foulest maid and fairest wife in Lacedaemon '] blurted 
out some silly words about the brat not being his " (iii, 4, 4). These 
vivacities are not unwelcome on the dusty way we travel ; but there are 
turns we frankly detest, such as "Market Zeus," "Horse Poseidon," 
" Locust Apollo," " Diver-Bird Athena" and so on through the whole 
pantheon of epithets. Still Mr. Frazer is not seduced by his own style, 
but reproduces his author with substantial if not slavish fidelity, while he 
clears a thousand stumbling-blocks out of the reader's path. Where none 
but the seasoned archaeologist could find any comfort in the original, a 
multitude of laymen who care for Greek things may read this translation 
with unflagging interest and real pleasure. It ought to be accessible to 
such readers in a volume by itself, together with the proper index and 
the admirable introduction which precedes it. 

The cottimentary which takes up four stout volumes (aggregating 
2,319 pages) is nothing less than encyclopedic. It embodies a digest of 
the immense literature of travel, research and excavation, down to 1897, 
as well as notes of the editor's own journeys in Greece in 1890 and 1895. 
We have some 450 pages on Athens alone, 260 on Olympia, and 160 on 
Delphi — the last enriched by the official plan of the French excavations 
still in progress there, with heliograph reproductions of the Frieze of the 
Siphnian Treasury, and Robert's restorations of Polygnotus's famous 
paintings of the Capture of Troy and the Netherworld. It may be re- 
marked, in passing, that the apparatus of plans and maps throughout the 
work is abundant and excellent, though as much can hardly be said for 
the text-illustrations. So, while the index to the translation is very full, 
that to the commentary is painfully meagre. Where Pausanias dismisses 
Mycenae with two scant pages, mainly of legendary lore, Frazer gives us 
seventy pages of commentary in his text and ten more in his Addenda. 
Not content with telling us what Schliemann and Tsountas have actually 
found there, he goes on to sum up the progress of Mycenaean discovery 
at large and to discuss the ancient civilization thus brought to light. 
The whole exposition is worthy of a specialist, and it shows perhaps as 
well as any other instance how completely our editor has mastered his 
material. It is indeed surprising how thoroughly he has exploited the 
very latest literature of his subject. Thus he avails himself of our new 
Bacchylides in advance of Ken yon' s editio princeps for an excellent note 
(V. 390); though, with the proof of "The Youths and Theseus" in 



Frazer: Pausanias's Description of Greece 141 

hand, he should have mended his translation of i, //, 3 where Pausanias's 
tense {J,yt'') is to be taken strictly as the poem shows. While he modestly 
confesses to "being an expert in none of the branches of archaeology," 
he is certainly well up in most of them ; and he does not hesitate to 
argue the point with the accredited masters, as when he takes issue with 
Doerpfeld on the ' ' Old Temple, ' ' the Enneakrounos, and the Greek 
stage. 

Merely as a compendious record of archaeological research from the 
first great campaigns at Mycenae and Olympia to those now in progress 
at Delphi and Corinth, this work is invaluable ; but it goes further and 
pours floods of light and learning on every topic that Pausanias touched, 
and their name is legion. We can refer here only to the folklore which 
is always cropping out in the oldperiegefe and which never fails to set his 
editor off on excursions to the ends of the earth — as when he bags the 
forty-one variations of the Virgin and the Dragon tale (V. 143 f. ) or the 
twenty-eight versions of the Clever Thief (V. 176 ff.). Readers of the 
"Golden Bough," in which Mr. Frazer had already devoted two volumes 
as bulky as any of these six to the elucidation of a single obscure Italian 
cult, will readily understand the zest with which he fares afield whenever 
game of this kind is scented. 

It is to be regretted that, in another sense, he fares afield so little. 
You cannot well edit a traveller in your study, even though its ' ' windows 
look on the tranquil court of an ancient college. ' ' The ideal editor of 
Pausanias should have first of all the qualification of Leake — he should 
have retraced every footstep of his author ; but Mr. Frazer appears to 
have devoted seven years to his task before ever setting foot in Greece. 
Now we rightly insist on first-hand description in our author and we can 
ask no less of his editor. But here we have in his text (II. 448 ff. ) an ac- 
count of Rhamnus, written in the style of an eye-witness, but obviously 
compiled "in the still air of delightful studies" so feelingly alluded to in 
his preface. For on turning to his Addenda (V. 529), we read : " I 
visited Rhamnus 18th December, 1895, and found that the description 
given in the text needs to be corrected in a few points ; ' ' and he i)roceeds 
to make at least ten material corrections. Other instances occur where 
second-hand descriptions in the text are helped out in the Addenda by 
subsequent observations of his own ; and some important sites (for ex- 
ample, Pylus and Sphacteria) he would seem not to have visited at all. 
Wherever he has used his own eyes, Mr. Frazer' s observation is so fresh 
and his descriptions so charming as to deepen our regret that more of his 
work was not done on the spot. 

Of the admirable introduction — the quintessence of the whole matter — 
we have left little time to speak. Nothing better has ever been written 
on the subject, and whoever reads it will not stop there. He will read 
Pausanias and find every page lit up with a " light that never was on sea 
or land" — the glamour which invests forever all things that are Greek. 

J. Irving Man.^tt.